PDA

View Full Version : Opening an overseas savings account in Russia as a foreigner from the US



Prudence
09-03-2012, 07:46
Greetings, this is my first post. As the thread title states, I'm interested in holding/investing in the Russian Ruble. It is my personal opinion that the Russian economy is economically sound, and that the currency is temporarily undervalued, and could eventually appreciate greatly against the US dollar. I realise that there are ETFs that people can use to invest in other currencies; but I hardly trust them. I would rather have a foreign bank account.

So, I have the motivation to open a savings account, say in St Petersburg or Moscow; but the complexity of it all seems very daunting. My Russian is very basic, and I will require either help from a translator, or someone on here who speaks Russian and is willing to help me for a little easy money when I travel to Russia. Perhaps a couple hundred US dollars for someone to help me out for a few hours at the bank. This could be a good way for an expat to make a little extra by helping me.

I've read that most banks will ask me for a translated passport. Where would I get this done. Could I just go to a Russian embassy here in the US and have it done before the trip? If it has to be done in Russia, does it take long? Are there banks, like the Bank of Moscow, that would just take my US passport and visa?

You would think the Russian government would want foreign investment, and encourage it by making banking easier for foreigners. I tried emailing a branch of the Bank of Moscow, that is located in ST Petersburg, at stpeterburg@mmbank.ru from their website http://www.bm.ru/en/personal/branches/region_offices/region_offices_st/ , and the email came back to me as undeliverable. This is not a good sign. Perhaps I'll call; but am worried I won't be able to communicate very well with them that way through garbled Russian. This is all very frustrating.

FatAndy
09-03-2012, 09:59
I'm in doubts if it is possible to open RUB account from abroad for private person. It seems to me it is better to find partner bank in US and try to operate via them, if you want to invest in RUB.

Being inside RF as non-resident, it is possible to open RUB account, see links about it (use online translation services, like Google translator):
http://yandex.ru/yandsearch?text=%D0%BE%D1%82%D0%BA%D1%80%D1%8B%D1%82%D0%B8%D0%B5+%D1%80%D1%83%D0%B1%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%B2%D0%BE%D0%B3%D0%BE+%D1%81%D1%87%D0%B5%D1%82%D0%B0+%D1%84%D0%B8%D0%B7%D0%B8%D1%87%D0%B5%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B8%D0%BC+%D0%BB%D0%B8%D1%86%D0%BE%D0%BC-%D0%BD%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%B5%D0%B7%D0%B8%D0%B4%D0%B5%D0%BD%D1%82%D0%BE%D0%BC&lr=213

Prudence
09-03-2012, 11:36
Thanks for the reply Andy. I'll read the links you provided with your search. I don't plan on living in Russia, although I would love to visit for a while. Something tells me that they won't give me an account with only a tourist visa. I'm certain the US dollar is on borrowed time though, and if it should lose its reserve currency status, it's a sure thing that the RUB would gain in value exponentially.

I would almost bet the Ruble will gain parity with the US dollar one day at the rate the USA is going; perhaps even dramatically as quick as it lost value against the dollar during the collapse of the Russian currency. I could give reasons for why I believe this is going to happen; but any intelligent person could look at the past exchange rates, of the RUD compared to the USD, and realise that the US is perhaps in a similar situation that the Soviet Union was before it collapsed. Who wouldn't want to game that?

Another strategy would be just to buy Rubles here in the US and physically hold them; but I would get a crappy exchange rate if used one of those local exchange services. I wonder how easy it would be to just hold up a sign at an airport, as people unload from a trip from Russia, and offer to buy their remaining Rubles at the going exchange rate. They might be more inclined to do that then use the airport exchange.

Prudence
09-03-2012, 12:52
I also wonder if it would be easier to open a bank account the Ukraine; but have it denominated in RUB. Do they do that? Is the RUB used much across the boarder into Ukraine the way it is on the Russian side? Do merchants, and people there, accept it regularly?

FatAndy
09-03-2012, 13:15
I know at least two banks working both in Ukraine and RF.
1) Privatbank, started in Donetsk, Eastern Ukraine, most russified part, then opened RF branches.
http://privatbank.ua/
http://www.privatbank.ru/
2) Sberbank of RF who has started invasion to Ukraine last year
http://www.sbrf.ru/
http://sberbank.com.ua/

Dunno if you'll be successfull with them, just I used them both. Browse threads in the forum regarding other foreigners' experience about opening account in local banks.
Also please wait for other members' replies in here, maybe somebody already has similar situation and may advise.

Regarding RUB in Ukraine, it is widely accepted in local open air markets, sometimes in taxi and in payments between private persons, especially in Kharkov, Donetsk, Lugansk regions and Crimea, i.e. border ones. Though you can't pay in RUB in shops or state/gov agencies/organizations, only UAH. The same in public transportation, utilites bills etc.
N. Azarov, Ukraine PM, has announced RUB to become reserve currency for Ukraine this year.

Prudence
09-03-2012, 13:51
Thanks Andy, you've been full of good info. I'm sure I'm not the only one who will go looking for these answers and benefit from this thread in the future.

SV1973a
09-03-2012, 14:14
Hi Prudence,
It is difficult enough if you try to open an account at a Russian bank, even when you have resident status in this country, leave alone a foreigner on a tourist visa.
I doubt if you can open an account if you are NOT residing in Russia (be it a work visa, temporary or permanent residence permit).
In most European countries you need to show that you are a resident, or proof that you need the account for business purposes. I think the same would be valid for Russia...
Even if you would succeed in opening an account, you should be prepared for a service level that is very very low.
By the way, have you ever been in Russia???

Prudence
09-03-2012, 14:51
Hi Prudence,
It is difficult enough if you try to open an account at a Russian bank, even when you have resident status in this country, leave alone a foreigner on a tourist visa.
I doubt if you can open an account if you are NOT residing in Russia (be it a work visa, temporary or permanent residence permit).
In most European countries you need to show that you are a resident, or proof that you need the account for business purposes. I think the same would be valid for Russia...
Even if you would succeed in opening an account, you should be prepared for a service level that is very very low.
By the way, have you ever been in Russia???

Thanks for the reply SV1973a. No I haven't, have you ever been to america? You certainly seem to have a very pejorative outlook on Russia.

I'm actually leaning toward taking a Russian language class located in Kharkov, and using that as a stepping stone into the Russian culture if I can't just "open a Russian bank account". The language class website says that they will help their students open up bank accounts. I'm guessing, at this point, that might be my last option. It's nice that US money currently goes far in Ukraine, as this will allow me to comfortably stay a bit longer, to enjoy my visit, if I decide to go that route.

SV1973a
09-03-2012, 15:02
No I haven't, have you ever been to america?
Depends on whom you ask. I`ve been to California once, so some would say `yes`, some would say `no`.
I liked California a lot and have very fond memories.
We are planning another trip in the near future. My wife would like to go to Florida.


You certainly seem to have a very pejorative outlook on Russia.
Deception. I have been through the difficult proces to obtain Russian Citizenship. I have very big hopes for my new country and look forward to a future where my fellow countrymen will be happy and prosperous.


I'm actually leaning toward taking a Russian language class located in Kharkov, and using that as a stepping stone into the Russian culture if I can't just "open a Russian bank account". The language class website says that they will help their students open up bank accounts. I'm guessing, at this point, that might be my last option.
Good luck with both the language classes and the bank account.
Still, I would seriously reconsider the part about the savings account.

Prudence
09-03-2012, 15:30
SV1973a, its really just a hedge against a possible dollar collapse. I seriously doubt that Putin is going to let the RUB depreciate against the dollar. It is a known fact that the RUB is being kept in a narrow region exchange rate wise. I have a feeling this will change abruptly once the US is no longer able to monetise US debt.

Ah California, the land of fruits and nuts. Yeah, I don't think you could equate that place with being to America either. :)

meri
09-03-2012, 15:49
Prudence the language school definitely finds you the accomodation for a valid address and also student visa that may lead you to open a bank account in Russia.

Another short cut can be via using http://www.garantibank.ru/

They have partnership with GEbank and they can definitely tell you how you can proceed before going through the " student" path".

Prudence
09-03-2012, 15:56
Prudence the language school definitely finds you the accomodation for a valid address and also student visa that may lead you to open a bank account in Russia.

Another short cut can be via using http://www.garantibank.ru/

They have partnership with GEbank and they can definitely tell you how you can proceed before going through the " student" path".

Thanks, I'll contact them. I've already emailed sberbank, and am waiting on a reply from them. I'll post what the tell me when I get the reply back.

FatAndy
09-03-2012, 17:50
meri, Prudence is going to get these classes in Kharkov. It is not Russian although mostly Russian-speaking city ;)

But being on student visa I'm almost sure he can visit Russian Sberbank office or Privatbank in Kharkov and discuss the question about RUB account in Ukraine and its possible transfer to Moscow, SPb or other regional office.


Prudence the language school definitely finds you the accomodation for a valid address and also student visa that may lead you to open a bank account in Russia.

Another short cut can be via using http://www.garantibank.ru/

They have partnership with GEbank and they can definitely tell you how you can proceed before going through the " student" path".

meri
09-03-2012, 22:48
Woops , I missed that part :)

AVKomarov
10-03-2012, 13:58
My Russian is very basic, and I will require either help from a translator, or someone on here who speaks Russian and is willing to help me for a little easy money when I travel to Russia.
It is not a problem for a little easy money or for free at all. But, generally, I think that your idea is not profitable. Probably, you will lose some money than gain it. Excuse me for this opinion.

Are there banks, like the Bank of Moscow, that would just take my US passport and visa?
All banking rules are the same in Russian.

I've read that most banks will ask me for a translated passport.
I think it is not necessary if you want to deposit or withdraw some money.

Following documents are required for accounts opening:
Passport (notarized translation of the Passport could be required)
Russian visa
Migration card that you receive at airports.
Notice of registration in Russia delivered by your Enterprise or a Hotel and that contains your official address in Russia unless you are a holder of highly qualified specialist visa
Work permit (if applicable)
Rosbank - for expatriates - You need to open Russian bank accounts (http://www.rosbank.ru/en/individuals/expatriates.php)

Where would I get this done.
In any translation office which provide notary translation services.
They called it notarized translation of the Passport. In Russian: нотариально заверенный перевод паспорта.
See for example Translation of personal documents - Cost with notarization (http://www.center-migracia.ru/index_12-e.htm)
Additional Google links Moscow notary certified translation passport

Could I just go to a Russian embassy here in the US and have it done before the trip
Probably yes, but it is the matter of price.

If it has to be done in Russia, does it take long?
About 1-3 days depending from the office.

Prudence
10-03-2012, 16:35
It is not a problem for a little easy money or for free at all. But, generally, I think that your idea is not profitable. Probably, you will lose some money than gain it. Excuse me for this opinion.


Well, I'm looking at this from a long term investment strategy; Years before any pay-off is to be assumed. The time to invest in something isn't when everyone is running in that same direction, which is why I'm not trying to buy gold right now.

AVKomarov
10-03-2012, 17:14
Years before any pay-off is to be assumed.
I see. :)